Monday, November 26, 2012

Introduction to SMART goals

The concept of creating SMART goals is really quite simple. It gives you a template to use to create well thought out, attainable goals. You can find a great SMART Goal Worksheet PDF here.

Each letter of he word "SMART" stands for a goal setting concept.

"S" = Specific - When you set specific goals you really zero in on what it is that you want to achieve. Let's look at some examples.

1. I want to lose weight.  Great goal but it's very broad.

2. I need to exercise more. A common goal but again quite broad.

3. I need to get control of my stress level. You could get stressed out just trying to figure out how to achieve that goal.

The PDF I linked to has a great suggestion. To create a specific goal think about the "W" questions.
Who? What? Where? When? and Why?

"M" = Measurable - How will you measure your success toward this goal? For instance if your goal is exercise, how often will you exercise? How long will you spend during each session? What type of exercise will you do?

"A" = Attainable - You want to set goals that matter to you. How successful do you think you'll be if you set a goal to diet because you think that's the goal you "should" set but you really couldn't care less about weight loss? These are your goals. They should be important to you!

"R" = Realistic - Setting a realistic goal is not wimping out. It's actually stacking the deck in your favor. Wanting to lose 100 pounds in 2 months is the heart and soul of "Biggest Loser" but it's not realistic for most folks. It's a great long term goal but to reach it you'll need to set some short term "stepping stone" goals. You also might have to do some research to find otu exactly how much weight loss is realistic and healthy. It's ok to take the time to do your homework. Remember the "planning" stage I described when talking about Behavioral change theory?

"T" = Time Sensitive - You want to time your goals. A goal without a time limit is simply a wish. The time limit helps to get you excited about your goal and also helps you measure progress toward it. You'll want to be certain to make your time table realistic for the goal you've chosen.

One final note: It's can be exciting to make SMART goals and tempting to create more than one goal. I wouldn't suggest working on more than 3 goals at one time. I actually think that starting with one is best. Once you reach it you can make one SMART goal plan to maintain that goal and then begin a second SMART goal that apeals to you. Less is often More when it comes to goal setting and achieving.

Your challenge for today is to think back to what you decided you wanted to change. The work on the S,M,A,R,T of turning it into an achievable goal.

Tomrrow I'll talk about Barriers and why we need to consider them.


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